Category Archives: MML Investors Services

Stanley Niekras-Former Purshe Kaplan Broker-Charged in Regulatory Complaint Alleging Financial Abuse of Elderly

November 2016-Watertown, New York

The FINRA records of  Stanley C. Niekras,  a  stockbroker who was formerly  employed by  Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments disclose 7 prior customer disputes that have been resolved and a currently pending regulatory event.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In the currently pending regulatory matter, FINRA case 2013037401001 , FINRA alleges that Niekras attempted to collect $70,000 in estate and financial planning fees from an elderly couple that he was not entitled to.

Niekras told the clients, who were in their 90’s and declining mentally and physically, that he he had spent hundreds of hours working on their estate plan and charged them at the rate of $250 per hour, notwithstanding the fact he had no agreement entitling him to such a fee.

The  prior customer disputes include several cases involving variable annuities which resulted in significant six figure settlements.

Niekras, who is not currently registered,  was last employed by Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments from 5/2014-10/2015. Prior to that he was employed by MML Investors Services.

If you have losses in an account in an account handled by Stanley C. Niekras  contact us to discuss how you may be able to recover damages for those losses.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Former MML Investors Services Broker From Neptune Beach, FL, Arrested in Iowa for Forgery & Theft

July 1, 2015

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) entered a default decision against Jeffrey Alan Stewart barring him from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity for converting customer funds, impersonating a customer and failing to respond to FINRA requests for information and testimony. Disciplinary Proceeding 2012035316101. 

According to the FINRA pleadings Stewart was registered with Valic Financial Advisors from July 2009-May 2011. In August 2011, Stewart became registered with MML Investor Services, LLC, where he remained until he was terminated in 12/2012 by MML Investor Services ” in connection with allegations concerning an unauthorized product replacement”.

FINRA found that after leaving Valic to join MML Investor Services, Stewart impersonated one of his clients and converted $54,000 from the customer’s account at Valic.

On August 24 2015, the Iowa City Press-CItizen reported that Jeffrey Alan Stewart, 52, of Neptune Beach, FL, was charged with the felonies of securities fraud ,  forgery and first degree theft. He posted a $30,000 bond in Johnson County Court according to the report.

If you suffered losses in an account handled by Stewart, call to discuss your legal options.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Phil Williamson Charged in South Florida Securities Fraud

June 1, 2015

Phil D. Williamson, 48, of Miami, Florida, was charged with investment advisor fraud according to an FBI Press Release which reports that he raised over two million dollars from 17 individuals who were led to believe he worked for a nationally recognized financial services firm.

Williamson deposited the victims money in bank accounts in the name of two companies he owned, Sterling Investment Fund and Sterling Financial Partners. Investors were led to believe they would be investing in real estate in Florida and Georgia. He concealed the fraud by issuing false statements and in classic Ponzi scheme style, by paying early investors with money received from new investors.

In a parallel action the SEC charged him with securities fraud and other violations. Williamson agreed to settle those charges and is liable for over $700,000 in disgorgement.

The victims include retired teachers and law enforcement officers who sought safe investments for their retirement savings.

According to FINRA records, Williamson previously was registered with the following firms:

  • Hartford Equity Sales Company
  • OneAmerica Securities
  • MML Investor Services
  • AXA Advisors

If you suffered losses in an account handled by Williamson, you may be able to recover damages from the firm that employed him. Call to discuss your options.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Former NEXT Financial Broker in Virginia Charged with Defrauding Texas Citizens

March 2, 2015

A Criminal Information was filed by the United States of America vs. Joshua Ray  Abernathy, of Norfolk Virginia, charging him with mail fraud, unlawful monetary transactions and seeking criminal forfeiture. USA v. Abernathy, US District Court For the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division, Criminal No. 2:15cr 21.

According to the complaint, Abernathy, a licensed securities broker and financial advisor operated his fraud through his company Omega Investment Group , from September 2008 through October 2014, he solicited funds from clients and investors for investment in stock options and unlawfully misappropriated those funds for personal use.

The victims, according to the Criminal Information, include:

  • A 75 year old widow from Texas who entrusted her retirement funds to Abernathy who concealed his fraud by providing fraudulent statements
  • A single mother from Texas who cashed in her retirement funds with the U.S. Postal Service and invested with Omega. Abernathy concealed his fraud by providing fraudulent statements
  • An individual from Texas who met Abernathy at church who transferred his retirement funds to Omega believing he was investing in a strategic investment fund. Abernathy concealed his fraud by providing fraudulent statements

The Criminal Information lists numerous other victims from Texas and Virginia with similar circumstances and in all cases the victims were provided with fraudulent statements. Losses are estimated to be about $1.3 million.

FINRA records indicate that Abernathy has been permanently barred from the industry. He was previously registered with the following broker-dealers:

  • The O.N. Equity Sales Company          2/2013-8/2014
  • NEXT Financial Group                               3/2007-8/2012
  • MML Investors Services                            2/2005-4/2007

If you had an account with Abernathy that suffered damages, contact us to learn how you may be able to recover all or a part of those losses from the broker-dealer Abernathy worked for at the time.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Peter Terlecky, Former Princor Financial Services Broker Named in Regulatory Complaint Over Annuity Swapping

October 29,2014-Amherst New York

The Department of Enforcement of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a disciplinary complaint against Peter Michael Terlecky, for circumventing his firm’s supervisory and compliance procedures by concealing and failing to process 26 variable annuity purchase transactions totaling over $2 million.

According to the compliant Terlecky concealed the replace of annuities with new annuities by structuring them as separate trades rather than through annuity exchanges as required by firm policy. He accomplished this by transferring the proceeds of the annuity sale to a money market account, and then after waiting a few days, using the funds to purchase a new variable annuity.

By doing this Terlecky was able to earn greater commissions and to conceal the annuity replacements from the firm’s compliance department.

According to the complaint, customers suffered harm by being deprived of receiving disclosures of material facts regarding annuity replacements and the opportunity of performing a meaningful comparison between the annuities they were selling and those being purchased. In ten instances, the complaint alleges that customers unnecessarily incurred new seven year surrender periods with their replacement variable annuities.

Terlecky was registered with Princor Financial Services Corporation at the time of the alleged wrongdoing. He was permitted to resign from Princor  Financial in August of 2011 after an internal investigation revealed the annuity swapping. According to FINRA records Terlecky has been registered with MML Investors Services since November 2011.

If you believe you have been the victim of annuity churning or annuity swapping, contact us to discuss how you may be entitled to damages.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870